Sioux Falls Zoologists

"Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent!"

The mirror test is an experiment developed in 1970 by psychologist Gordon Gallup Jr. to determine whether an animal possesses the ability to recognize itself in a mirror. It is the primary indicator of self-awareness in non-human animals and marks entrance to the mirror stage by human children in developmental psychology. Animals that pass mirror test are: Humans older than 18 mo, Chimpanzees, Bonobos, Orangutans, Gorillas, Bottlenose Dolphins, Orcas (Killer Whales), Elephants, and European Magpies. Others showing signs of self-awareness are Pigs, some Gibbons, Rhesus Macaques, Capuchin Monkeys, some Corvids (Crows & Ravens) and Pigeons w/training. (Sorry Kitty!)

Sioux Falls Zoologists endorse Vanishing of the Bees for
showing how the extinction of Honeybees poses a
serious threat to one-third of our food supply.

Vanishing of the Bees
Little Bee. Big Mystery.

Vanishing of the Bees (2011) - 87 minutes
Vanishing of the Bees at

Honeybees have been mysteriously disappearing across the planet, literally vanishing from their hives.

Known as Colony Collapse Disorder, this phenomenon threatens the loss of much more than honey as we depend on honeybees to pollinate one third of the food on our tables. Vanishing of the Bees chronicles the innermost thoughts and feelings of beekeepers and scientists as they fight to preserve the honeybee and make it through another day.

Featuring experts like author Michael Pollan, the film also presents a platform of solutions, encouraging audiences to be the change they want to see in the world. This award-winning documentary examines that alarming disappearance of honeybees and the greater meaning it holds about the relationship between mankind and mother earth.

8-20-21 Illinois girl brings her fight to protect bees to the statehouse
Scarlett Harper isn't afraid of bees, or asking lawmakers to support a bill protecting them from lethal mosquito pesticides. Harper, 11, noticed earlier this year that there weren't as many bees buzzing around her Winnetka, Illinois, neighborhood, and found out that a pesticide that had been sprayed in the area to get rid of mosquitos had also killed bees. "Bees are completely vital to humans," Harper told CBS News. "They pollinate a third of our food supply and without them, we really can't survive." Wanting to protect bees, she started a campaign to restrict the use of pesticides that can hurt them. State Rep. Robyn Gabel (D) was happy to craft House Bill 3118 — also known as the "Bee Bill" — to curb the use of such pesticides, and Harper worked the phones, calling up lawmakers to ask them to join in the fight. She was able to get 22 state representatives to co-sponsor the bill, and it made it out of the Energy and Environment Committee with a vote of 29-0. There was pushback from landscapers and pesticide companies, and Illinois' legislative session ended before the bill was passed. Harper told CBS News she is certain it will be reintroduced in the next session and "we're going to win." Until then, Harper will continue to spread the good word about bees, educating her community about the value they bring and the best ways to protect them.

8-5-21 Farm pesticides killing more bees - study
Agricultural pesticides sold to farmers ready-mixed into "cocktails" can kill twice as many bees, according to an analysis of 90 studies. Each measured the impact of environmental stresses such as pesticides and poor nutrition. Researchers used that data to quantify how combinations of those stresses affected the pollinating insects. And they say commercial formulas, which contain multiple chemicals, should now require their own licences. "Exposure to multiple pesticides is the norm, not the exception," Dr Harry Siviter, from the University of Texas at Austin, who led the study, told the BBC Radio 4's Inside Science programme. One 2016 study showed bee colonies containing larger numbers of pesticides were much more likely to die. "If you have a honeybee colony exposed to one pesticide that kills 10% of the bees and another pesticide that kills another 10%, you would expect, if those effects were additive, for 20% of the bees to be killed," Dr Siviter said. But a "synergistic effect" could produce 30-40% mortality. "And that's exactly what we found when we looked at the interactions," he said. "So we really should consider the interaction between those chemicals" when licensing commercial formulas for use, Dr Siviter said. "We don't continue to monitor pesticides once they're licensed for use, so we're proposing post-licensing observations. "If those pesticides [used in combination] harm bees, that harm is recorded." Another study published this week, however, suggests bees around the world are developing the ability to "clear out" a particularly damaging parasite - varroa, a mite that lives and feeds on honeybees and larvae. Bees already have complex organised hygienic behaviours, such as removing infected broods of larvae from the hive. And now, data published in the Royal Society journal Proceedings B, from 40 years of research into colonies that survive infestations, without any chemical treatment, reveals they are evolving to "repurpose" that behaviour against varroa.

3-3-21 UK will no longer use bee-harming pesticide
A pesticide believed to harm bees won't be used in England, after it had been approved for temporary use in January. The government had authorised the emergency use of a product containing the chemical thiamethoxam, because of a virus which affected sugar beet seeds. But that protection won't be needed now, as the colder weather means there's less risk to the crop. Environment Secretary George Eustice said emergency authorisation was only "granted with strict conditions". The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) says to justify use of the pesticide, its predictions had to show that the virus would reach a certain level. "In the event, that pest threshold was not passed so this seed treatment will not be used this year," Mr Eustice added. In 2018, an almost total ban was put in by the EU and UK because of the serious damage the chemical could cause to bees. Scientific studies have linked the use of these chemicals to the falling numbers of honeybees, wild bees and other animals which pollinate plants. At the time of the ban, Michael Gove, then environment secretary, said the UK was in favour as it couldn't "afford to put our pollinator populations at risk". But according to Defra, the amount of sugar beet grown in 2020 was reduced due to the yellow virus - and similar conditions in 2021 would have caused the same problems, unless it took action. It now says some damage to the crop is still likely, but expected to be below the level at which the pesticide use is considered to be justified. Milan Wiercx van Rhijn, from the charity Bees for Development was initially "disappointed" by the government's initial decision to allow the use of the pesticide. He's "relieved" the pesticide won't be used, but remains concerned it was even an option. "Agriculture must be regenerative, and we cannot continue destroying the ecosystem on which we depend," he tells Radio 1 Newsbeat. "Future generations will be shocked that we ever considered using these toxins - we see already the catastrophic decline in insects and biodiversity." The 32-year-old explains the insects play a vital role in the food chain - with around a third of the food we eat relying on pollination mainly by bees.

1-28-21 Legal threat over bee-harming pesticide use
The Wildlife Trusts is to take legal action against the UK government over its decision to allow a pesticide that is almost entirely banned in the EU. In 2018, the EU banned the outdoor use of neonicotinoid pesticides, which harm pollinating insects such as bees. But following Brexit, the government approved the emergency use of one neonicotinoid to combat a crop disease. The charity has told Environment Secretary George Eustice of their intention to challenge the decision. In a letter to Mr Eustice, the Trusts says it will push for a judicial review unless the government can "prove it has acted lawfully". Multiple studies, including large-scale field trials, have found that neonicotinoids harm pollinators and aquatic life. Research has also shown that they can be linked to the wider collapse in biodiversity. The government says it allowed the use of the neonicotinoid thiamethoxam because of the "potential danger" to the sugar beet crop from beet yellows virus, which is spread by aphids. The virus can have a severe impact on sugar beet. It stressed that use of the chemical would be strictly limited, and the risk to bees was "acceptable" because sugar beet doesn't flower. Alternative chemicals should be used to kill any wild flowering plants in and around the crops, the government said. Neonicotinoids are the most widely-used class of insecticides in the world and they work by disrupting the insect central nervous system. Two years ago, the EU's ban was supported by then-Environment Secretary Michael Gove, who said the weight of evidence was "greater than previously understood". Unless the evidence changed, he said, the restrictions would be maintained post-Brexit. The government says the change in policy is based on "new evidence". But, so far, they haven't made this science public. However, Craig Bennett, chief executive of the Wildlife Trusts, said there was no new evidence to justify the change in policy. He said: "The government refused a request for emergency authorisation in 2018 and we want to know what's changed. Where's the new evidence that it's okay to use this extremely harmful pesticide? "Using neonicotinoids not only threatens bees but is also extremely harmful to aquatic wildlife because the majority of the pesticide leaches into soil and then into waterways. Worse still, farmers are being recommended to use weedkiller to kill wildflowers in and around sugar beet crops in a misguided attempt to prevent harm to bees in the surrounding area. This is a double blow for nature."

2-7-20 Climate change: Loss of bumblebees driven by 'climate chaos'
"Climate chaos" has caused widespread losses of bumblebees across continents, according to scientists. A new analysis shows the likelihood of a bee being found in any given place in Europe and North America has declined by a third since the 1970s. Climbing temperatures will increasingly cause declines, which are already more severe than previously thought, said researchers. Bumblebees are key pollinators of many fruits, vegetables and wild plants. Without them, some crops could fail, reducing food for humans and countless other species. Dr Tim Newbold of University College London (UCL) said there had been some previous research showing that bumblebee distributions are moving northwards in Europe and North America, "as you'd expect with climate change". He added: "But this was the first time that we have been able to really tie local extinctions and colonisations of bumble bees to climate change, showing a really clear fingerprint of climate change in the declines that we've seen." Bumblebee declines are already more severe than previously thought, said lead researcher Peter Soroye of the University of Ottawa in Canada. "We've linked this to climate change - and more specifically to the extreme temperatures and the climate chaos that climate change is producing," he said. Bumblebees are among the most important plant pollinators. Declines in range and abundance have been documented from a range of causes, including pesticides, disease and habitat loss. In the new study, researchers looked at more than half a million records of 66 bumblebee species from 1901 to 1974 and from 2000 to 2014. They found bumblebee populations declined rapidly between 2000-2014: the likelihood of a site being occupied by bumblebees dropped by an average of over 30% compared with 1901-1974.

2-6-20 Climate change is killing off bumblebees in Europe and North America
Climate change has significantly increased the likelihood of bumblebees being driven to extinction in some areas of North America and Europe. Research five years ago showed how warming had shrunk the bees’ habitat across the two regions. However, it is difficult to separate the direct effects of climate change on the bees’ chance of local extinction from other environmental pressures, such as their habitats vanishing. To fill that gap, Tim Newbold at University College London and his colleagues analysed the temperature and rainfall records at more than 15,000 sites where at least one of 66 bumblebee species had been spotted between 2000 and 2014. They found that due to changes in climatic conditions, the probability of a site being occupied by bumblebees fell by an average of 46 per cent in North America and 17 per cent in Europe, relative to the long-term average last century. “This is the clearest signal so far of climate change already having had quite an important effect on the extinction and colonisation of bumblebee species,” says Newbold. The results were as he expected. The bees are large and furry as an adaptation to cold climates, so those in southern Europe and the south of North America, which were already at their upper temperature limits, were much more likely to go extinct and much less likely to colonise a new area. To ensure it was climate change driving the shifts, the researchers controlled for changes in land use and the fact there are far more records of bumblebees in recent years. Still, one limitation is that record-keeping is patchy in places. Losing bumblebees means losing pollinators essential to food production. Although they don’t pollinate the crops we rely on for the bulk of our calories, they provide much of the variety in our diets, pollinating nuts, berries and squashes. If climate change continues, it will drive even stronger bumblebee declines in the future, says Newbold. Warming is one of many threats to these insects, says Dave Goulson at the University of Sussex, UK. “Bumblebees also suffer from many other pressures, particularly habitat loss and exposure to pesticides, and it seems likely that a rapidly warming future climate may be the final straw for many of them.”

7-19-19 Russia alarmed by large fall in bee populations
Large areas of central and southern Russia have seen a major decline in their bee populations in recent months. The head of the Russian beekeepers' union, Arnold Butov, said 20 regions had reported mass bee deaths. The affected regions include Bryansk and Kursk, south of Moscow, and Saratov and Ulyanovsk on the Volga River. Mr Butov, quoted by Russian media, said the crisis might mean 20% less honey being harvested. Some officials blamed poorly regulated pesticide use. Yulia Melano, at the rural inspection service Rosselkhoznadzor, complained that her agency had lost most of its powers to control pesticide use since 2011. Russia produces about 100,000 tonnes of honey annually. Mr Butov said the union's members were collecting data on bee losses, so that by 1 August a detailed report could be submitted to the Russian government. Sunflowers and buckwheat are just two of the staple crops pollinated by bees in Russia. Orchards also rely on bees for pollination. There are fears that the bee deaths will push up not only honey prices, but also those of other popular foods. The crisis has spread as far as the Altai region in Siberia, more than 4,000km (2,485 miles) east of Moscow. Declining bee populations have caused widespread alarm in Europe, with experts blaming the crisis on a combination of factors: climate change, pesticides - notably neonicotinoids - and varroa mites spreading in beehives. In April 2018 the EU imposed an almost total ban on neonicotinoids because of the harm they do to bees and other pollinators. Beekeepers in France raised the alarm again in June this year, reporting many severely hit bee colonies. obert Aigoin, president of the family farmers' union Modef, said "the first part of the season has been catastrophic". He and other beekeepers blamed climate change, noting that late frosts had been followed by a severe heatwave in France

6-20-19 U.S honeybees had the worst winter die-off in more than a decade
Varroa mites and diseases did the most damage, but weather disasters didn’t help. U.S. honeybees just weathered an unusually bad winter. About 38 percent of beekeepers’ colonies died between October 1, 2018, and April 1, 2019, the Bee Informed Partnership estimates. While it wasn’t the worst recent year overall for honeybee losses — that was 2012–2013 — preliminary results released June 19 show it is the worst winter die-off recorded over the University of Maryland–based nonprofit’s 13 years of surveying bee populations. Beekeepers should be able to rebuild those numbers this year, but such ongoing winter losses raise deep worries about the future of crop pollination. On average over the 13 years, about 29 percent of colonies have died each winter. The 2018–2019 numbers came from nearly 4,700 beekeepers, representing about 12 percent of the estimated 2.69 million U.S. hives. Some floods and fires this year destroyed colonies, but “the take-home worry for me is Varroa [mites],” says the Partnership’s Dennis vanEngelsdorp, a bee-health entomologist at the University of Maryland in College Park. The invasive mite species Varroa destructor clamps its tiny pimple-shaped body onto bees just as they’re turning into adults (SN: 2/16/19, p. 32). Mites sap bee strength and spread disease, yet remedies against the pests seem to be losing their power. “Ideally in the long-term, we would have a bee that was resistant,” vanEngelsdorp says. While winter bee colony die-offs are worrisome, beekeepers can split surviving bee colonies and add new queens. Replacing winter-killed colonies this way, however, takes labor, time and money.

3-26-19 A third of wild bee and hoverfly species are in decline in Britain
A third of wild bee and hoverfly species are in decline across Great Britain, raising concerns about biodiversity declines and the potential loss of pollinators. Analysis of 700,000 naturalist records going back to 1980 has found that about 33 per cent of 353 species studied declined in the extent of their range across the island. Losses worsened in wild bees after 2007, four years after the introduction of a group of pesticides known as neonicotinoids, which have since been almost entirely banned by the EU. The assessment found that the key group of 22 wild bees and hoverflies behind crop pollination had been doing relatively well. Overall, 11 per cent of the species studied increased their range between 1980 and 2013. That is no reason for complacency though, says Gary Powney of the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, who was involved in the work. “It’s a risky pollination strategy to rely on just 22 species.” While not immediate cause for alarm in terms of food. “The widespread common species, in very broad terms, are doing okay. The rarer species are doing less well. If you only care about wildlife and biodiversity, it’s bad news. If you only care about whether your crops are being pollinated, it’s okay,” says Nick Isaac, who also worked on the research at the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology. The once widespread red-shanked carder bee (Bombus ruderarius) is among the losers, down 42 per cent. By contrast, the ashy mining bee (Andrena cineraria) increased its range fivefold. Farming, habitat loss and pesticide use have all been blamed for insect losses in recent years. Key crop pollinators could be doing well because of a sevenfold increase in land given over to oilseed rape since 1980, and more strips of wildflowers in farm fields, experts say.

3-26-19 Bees: Many British pollinating insects in decline, study shows
A third of British wild bees and hoverflies are in decline, according to a new study. If current trends continue, some species will be lost from Britain altogether, the scientists say. The study found "winners" and "losers" among hundreds of wild bees and hoverflies, which pollinate food crops and other plants. Common species are winning out at the expense of rarer ones, with an overall picture of biodiversity being lost. Scientists warn that the loss of nature could create problems in years to come, including the ability to grow food crops. The study looked at trends in 353 wild bees and hoverflies in Scotland, England and Wales over 33 years from 1980. A third of species experienced declines in terms of areas where they were found, while about 10% became more abundant, including bees that pollinate flowering crops, such as oil seed rape. While some pollination is carried out by honeybees in hives, much of the pollination of food crops and wild plants is carried out by their wild relatives and other insects, especially hoverflies. Dr Gary Powney of the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH) in Wallingford, Oxfordshire, said while the increase in key crop pollinators is "good news", species have declined overall. "It would be risky to rely on this group to support the long-term food security for our country," he said. "If anything happens to them in the future, there will be fewer other species to step up and fulfill the essential role of crop pollination." The losses were concentrated among the rarer, specialised species. Dr Nick Isaac, also of the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH) in Wallingford, Oxfordshire, said this was "particularly bad news if you're interested in wildlife and in conservation". The "losers" include solitary bees, which live in burrows in the ground, and upland bees, living on mountains and moorlands. Among the "winners" are 22 of the most important crop pollinators.

11-26-18 South African bees: 'One million die in Cape Town'
At least one million bees are suspected to have died of poisoning in a wine-producing area of South Africa. Brendan Ashley-Cooper told the BBC that an insecticide used by wine farmers, Fipronil, was thought to have killed the insects on his farm. Other honey bee farmers in the area around Cape Town have also been affected, but it is still unclear how many of the insects have died, he said. Fipronil has been blamed for the deaths of millions of honey bees in Europe. Campaigners say Fipronil is highly toxic to insects, and its use was restricted in Europe in 2013. About 100 of his bee hives, or 35% to 40% of those he owned in the affected areas, had been hit by the disaster, said Mr Ashley-Cooper, the vice-chairman of the Western Cape Bee Industry Association. He estimated this meant between 1-1.5 million bees had been killed. It is unclear how many bees there are in South Africa, but the deaths would not make much difference to their overall population, he said. Fipronil was also at the centre of an egg scandal in Europe this year. Millions of eggs were pulled from supermarket shelves in more than a dozen European countries, including the UK, after it was discovered that some had been contaminated with the insecticide. Fipronil is commonly used to get rid of fleas, lice and ticks but is banned by the European Union for use on animals destined for human consumption, such as chickens. Fipronil had been used by wine farmers in the Cape Town area for a long time to control the ant population, but this was the first time the insecticide was suspected to have caused the deaths of bees, Mr Ashley-Cooper said. Further tests were being done to confirm whether it was to blame, and both wine farmers and the government were working with bee farmers to tackle the problem, he added.

11-12-18 Can listening to bees help save them - and us?
Can artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning help save the world's bees? That's the hope of scientists who are scrambling to reverse the dramatic declines in bee populations. Bees are in trouble, but we're not quite sure why. It could be the overuse of insecticides; air pollution; warming temperatures; the varroa destructor mite; or even interference from electromagnetic radiation. Or it could be a combination of all these factors. But until we have more data, we won't know for sure. So the World Bee Project and IT firm Oracle are creating a global network of AI "smart hives" to give scientists real-time data into the relationships between bees and their environments. Up to six sensors will be mounted on hives, capturing the sound of the bees' buzzing, the movement of their feet and wings, the weight of their honey, the hive's humidity, as well as local weather and pollution levels. Sensors on beehives aren't new, but using AI and machine learning to analyse the data they collect should yield new insights, says John Abel, vice-president of cloud and technology at Oracle. "Sound is probably the most important data set," he says. "We convert it into a data feed and use this via machine learning to inform the beekeeper. And with Oracle Cloud we can get lots of data into it very quickly - we've got technology which is self-learning, self-tuning and self-patching, so it can automate what it needs to do." Oracle - which says the data will be owned by the World Bee Project - will use blockchain to verify that the data is coming from a particular hive and hasn't been tampered with. Simon Potts, professor of biodiversity at Reading University, says it can be quite hard with simple laboratory or field experiments to tease out what is affecting bees. "With AI and machine learning we can start to put together the signature of health and unhealthy hives," he says. "The holy grail would be to identify early warning indicators of problems."

8-15-18 New pesticides 'may have risks for bees'
Attempts to find a new generation of pesticides to replace neonicotinoids have been dealt a potential blow. Neonicotinoids are the most commonly used insecticide in the world, but had been linked to bee declines. Studies suggest a new type of pesticide seen as an alternative to the chemicals, which have been banned in many countries, may have similar risks. The new insecticides may reduce bumblebee reproduction in the wild, according to a study by UK scientists. The alternatives had been sought because of the evidence linking neonicotinoids to declines in bee populations - leading to the bans and restrictions on their use. A study, published in Nature journal, looked at how one of the new class, known as sulfoxaflor, impacts on healthy, wild bumblebees. Exposed bees had fewer offspring when released into the wild compared with unexposed bees. "Our results show that sulfoxaflor can have a negative impact on the reproductive output of bumblebee colonies under certain conditions," said study researcher Harry Siviter of Royal Holloway, University of London.

5-17-18 Bee crisis: EU court backs near-total neonicotinoids ban
The EU's top court has backed an almost complete EU-wide ban on the use of three insecticides, which studies have linked to declining bee populations. Chemicals giants Bayer and Syngenta had gone to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) hoping to get the restrictions on neonicotinoids overturned. Last month EU governments agreed to ban all use of three neonicotinoids outdoors. Seeds treated with them can still be used in greenhouses. Many honeybee colonies have collapsed. Scientific studies have found that the chemicals can disorientate bees, harming their ability to pollinate and return to hives. Some other factors - notably mites and fungus - have also been blamed for the widespread bee decline. The three neonicotinoids to be severely restricted in the EU are: clothianidin, thiamethoxam and imidacloprid. Currently they are widely used, but from next year farms will have to find alternatives.

3-22-18 How bees defend against some controversial insecticides
Researchers have discovered enzymes that can help resist some neonicotinoids. Honeybees and bumblebees have a way to resist toxic compounds in some widely used insecticides. These bees make enzymes that help the insects break down a type of neonicotinoid called thiacloprid, scientists report March 22 in Current Biology. Neonicotinoids have been linked to negative effects on bee health, such as difficulty reproducing in honeybees (SN: 7/26/16, p 16). But bees respond to different types of the insecticides in various ways. This finding could help scientists design versions of neonicotinoids that are less harmful to bees, the researchers say. Such work could have broad ramifications, says study coauthor Chris Bass, an applied entomologist at the University of Exeter in England. “Bees are hugely important to the pollination of crops and wild flowers and biodiversity in general.” Neonicotinoids are typically coated on seeds such as corn and sometimes sprayed on crops to protect the plants from insect pests. The chemicals are effective, but their use has been suspected to be involved in worrisome declines in numbers of wild pollinators (SN Online: 4/5/12).

2-28-18 Pesticides put bees at risk, European watchdog confirms
Most uses of insecticides known as neonicotinoids represent a risk to wild bees and honeybees, the European Food Safety Authority has confirmed. The use of neonicotinoids has been restricted in the European Union since 2013, following earlier risk assessments. Nations will discuss a European Commission proposal to extend the ban next month. Neonicotinoids are the world's most widely used insecticide. The new assessment considered more than 1,500 studies on the impacts of three neonicotinoids - clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam. "There is variability in the conclusions, due to factors such as the bee species, the intended use of the pesticide and the route of exposure," said Jose Tarazona, head of the European Food Safety Authority's pesticides unit. "Some low risks have been identified, but overall the risk to the three types of bees we have assessed is confirmed." The EU banned the use of the three chemicals on flowering crops - seen as most attractive to bees - almost five years ago in a move then opposed by the UK. The Environment Secretary Michael Gove recently reversed the government's position and said it would back a ban on non-flowering crops too, including wheat and sugar beet. A Defra spokesperson said the government had fully applied restrictions on the use of neonicotinoids introduced by the EU to date and, following an assessment by UK scientists, announced last November that it was in favour of further restrictions. "We always keep the evidence on neonicotinoids under review and will look in detail at today's report from the European Food Safety Authority," said the spokesperson.

1-17-18 Mystery deepens over mass die-off of antelopes
A mass die-off of wild antelopes in Kazakhstan was triggered by environmental factors, scientists believe. More than 200,000 saiga antelopes collapsed and died suddenly in 2015, wiping out most of the global population. The deaths were found to be caused by a bacterial infection. However, new data shows other factors were involved too, including unusually high humidity and temperatures. Researchers think changing environmental conditions could be a trigger for the bacterial onslaught, although this needs further research. They say there is a high chance of the same thing happening again, given climate change predictions for the region. Study leader Prof Richard Kock of the Royal Veterinary College London was part of the original emergency response team. He said the event went way beyond what would normally be expected from a bacterial disease of this kind. "The whole thing was really extraordinary," he said. "It's very very likely to happen again." The multi-disciplinary team used statistical analysis to look at environmental conditions at the time.

12-14-17 Neonicotinoids at 'chronic levels' in UK rivers, study finds
Rivers across the country are "chronically polluted" with pesticides believed to pose a threat to bee populations, a report has found. The River Waveney on the Norfolk/Suffolk border was found to have the highest levels of neonicotinoids in the UK. The River Wensum in Norwich, and the River Tame in the West Midlands were also named among the most polluted. A growing number of studies have linked the pesticides to problems for bees. According to figures from UK monitoring data by the European Environment Agency, 88% of sites in Britain were contaminated with neonicotinoids. The Angling Trust, the charity Buglife, and The Rivers Trust said eight rivers in England - including the Ouse, Somerhill Stream, Wyke Beck, Ancholme, and Sincil Dyke - exceeded recommended chronic pollution limits. The River Waveney's pollution limit was exceeded for a whole month, they said. The study said the three toxins of concern were imidacloprid, clothianidin and thiamethoxam, which are used in farming and waste water treatment plants. Matt Shardlow, chief executive of Buglife, said: "We are devastated to discover that many British rivers have been heavily damaged by neonicotinoid insecticides. "It is vital that action is taken to ban these three toxins."

10-5-17 Neonicotinoid pesticides found in honey from every continent
Neonicotinoid pesticides found in honey from every continent
The discovery of neonicotinoid pesticides in honey means pollinating insects like bees regularly eat dangerous amounts of the pesticides. The evidence has been mounting for years that the world’s most widely used pesticides, neonicotinoids, harm bees and other pollinating insects. Now it seems the problem isn’t limited to Europe and North America, where the alarm was first sounded. It’s everywhere. In 2013 the EU temporarily banned neonicotinoids on crops that attract bees, such as oilseed rape. In November, the European Food Safety Authority will decide if the evidence warrants a total ban. France has already announced one. Starting in 2012, a team led by Alex Aebi of the University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland, asked travelling colleagues, friends and relatives to bring back honey when they went abroad. In three years they amassed 198 samples from every continent except Antarctica, and tested them for neonicotinoids. They found that three-quarters of the samples contained at least one of the five neonicotinoid pesticides. Of those, nearly half contained between two and five different neonicotinoids. Most worryingly, in 48 per cent of the contaminated samples, the neonicotinoids were at levels that exceeded the minimum dose known to cause “marked detrimental effects” in pollinators. “The situation is indeed bad for pollinators,” says Aebi.

10-5-17 Much of the world’s honey now contains bee-harming pesticides
Much of the world’s honey now contains bee-harming pesticides
Global survey finds neonicotinoids in three-fourths of samples. Neonicotinoid pesticides are turning up in honey on every continent with honeybees. The first global honey survey testing for these controversial nicotine-derived pesticides shows just how widely honeybees are exposed to the chemicals, which have been shown to affect the health of bees and other insects. Three out of four honey samples tested contained measurable levels of at least one of five common neonicotinoids, researchers report in the Oct. 6 Science. “On the global scale, the contamination is really striking,” says study coauthor Edward Mitchell, a soil biologist at the University of Neuchâtel in Switzerland. The pesticides are used on many kinds of crops grown in different climates, but traces of the chemicals showed up even in honey from remote islands with very little agriculture. “I used to think of neonicotinoids as being a [localized] problem next to a small set of crops,” says Amro Zayed, who studies bees at York University in Toronto and wasn’t involved in the research. These pesticides “are much more prevalent than I previously thought.”

10-5-17 Pesticides linked to bee deaths found in most honey samples
Pesticides linked to bee deaths found in most honey samples
A new study has found traces of neonicotinoid chemicals in 75% of honey samples from across the world. The scientists say that the levels of the widely used pesticide are far below the maximum permitted levels in food for humans. In one-third of the honey, the amount of the chemical found was enough to be detrimental to bees. Industry sources, though, dismissed the research, saying the study was too small to draw concrete conclusions. Neonicotinoids are considered to be the world's most widely used class of insecticides. These systemic chemicals can be added as a seed coating to many crops, reducing the need for spraying. They have generally been seen as being more beneficial for the environment than the older products that they have replaced. However, the impact of neonics on pollinators such as bees has long been a troubling subject for scientists around the world. Successive studies have shown a connection between the use of the products and a decline in both the numbers and health of bees. Earlier this year, the most comprehensive field study to date concluded that the pesticides harm honey bees and wild bees. This new study looks at the prevalence of neonicotinoids in 198 honey samples gathered on every continent (except Antarctica). The survey found at least one example of these chemicals in 75% of the honey, from all parts of the globe. Concentrations were highest in North America, Asia and Europe.

6-29-17 Large-scale study 'shows neonic pesticides harm bees'
Large-scale study 'shows neonic pesticides harm bees'
The most extensive study to date on neonicotinoid pesticides concludes that they harm both honeybees and wild bees. Researchers said that exposure to the chemicals left honeybee hives less likely to survive over winter, while bumblebees and solitary bees produced fewer queens. The study spanned 2,000 hectares across the UK, Germany and Hungary and was set up to establish the "real-world" impacts of the pesticides. The results are published in Science. Neonicotinoids were placed under a temporary ban in Europe in 2013 after concerns about their impact on bees. The European Commission told the BBC that it intends to put forward a new proposal to further restrict the use of the chemicals. Prof Richard Pywell, from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology in Oxfordshire, who carried out the research, told BBC News: "Our findings are a cause for serious concern. "We've shown for the first time negative effects of neonicotinoid-coated seed dressings on honeybees and we've also shown similar negative effects on wild bees. "This is important because many crops globally are insect pollinated and without pollinators we would struggle to produce some foods." However, Bayer, a major producer of neonicotinoids which part-funded the study, said the findings were inconclusive and that it remained convinced the pesticides were not bad for bees. (Webmaster's comment: The same old corporate bullshit. Deny. Deny. Deny. And keep the money rolling in!)

6-29-17 Strongest evidence yet that neonicotinoids are killing bees
Strongest evidence yet that neonicotinoids are killing bees
Studies in Europe and Canada show that controversial neonicotinoid insecticides have adverse effects on reproduction of honeybees and wild bees. There can be little doubt now that the world’s most widely used insecticides are bad for bees. Two new studies add to the mountain of evidence that neonicotinoids are harmful to pollinators, and add to the pressure for Europe, at least, to introduce a full ban. The European Union has had a temporary moratorium on using three major neonicotinoids on bee-attractive crops since 2013, though farmers can apply for emergency authorisation to keep using them. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) is due to rule in November on whether to make the ban permanent, and legislators are already discussing whether to extend it to cover all uses outside greenhouses. One of the studies was the largest field trial to date, involving honeybees, bumblebees and solitary bees at 33 oilseed rape sites in the UK, Germany and Hungary. The team were given a licence to use two banned neonicotinoid insecticides (NNIs), clothianidin and thiamethoxam. One of these, or no NNIs at all, was used at each site, with the allocation made at random. Even where no chemical was used, bees’ hives and nests contained NNI residues, including traces of the banned imidacloprid, which was not used in the study. This shows that all three chemicals have remained in the environment even after the moratorium. In wild bees, the study found a link between higher levels of NNI residues and negative effects on reproduction: fewer queens in bumblebee hives and fewer egg cells in solitary bee nests.

5-28-17 A third of America's honeybee colonies died in the last year
A third of America's honeybee colonies died in the last year
Beekeepers in the United States saw a third of their honeybee colonies die between April 2016 and April 2017, an annual survey finds. That sounds grim, but it's actually a slight improvement over similar assessments in the last decade, in which an average of 40 percent of the colonies died off annually. "I would stop short of calling this 'good' news," said Dennis vanEngelsdorp, a University of Maryland professor who is also a project director at the Bee Informed Partnership. "Colony loss of more than 30 percent over the entire year is high. It's hard to imagine any other agricultural sector being able to stay in business with such consistently high losses." Some of the dead colonies may be salvaged, but the process isn't easy. One bumblebee species was added to the federal Endangered Species List earlier this year, and steady decline of bee populations is a serious and widespread problem that is believed to be linked to pesticide use. "Bees are good indicators of the landscape as a whole," said Nathalie Steinhauer, who worked on the new survey. "To keep healthy bees, you need a good environment and you need your neighbors to keep healthy bees. Honeybee health is a community matter."

11-24-16 Health Canada proposes ban on pesticide linked to bee deaths
Health Canada proposes ban on pesticide linked to bee deaths
Canada's health regulator is planning to ban a controversial neonicotinoid pesticide, which it says has contaminated waterways and killed important aquatic insects. Health Canada wants to ban virtually all uses of the pesticide Imidacloprid. It said Imidacloprid poses risks to Canada's aquatic wildlife. Studies have linked neonicotinoid use to bee deaths around the world, although whether it is to blame for colony collapse is still being debated.

2-5-16 Spread of bee disease 'largely manmade'
Spread of bee disease 'largely manmade'
The global trade in bees is driving a pandemic that threatens hives and wild bees, UK scientists say. A deadly bee disease has spread worldwide through imports of infected honeybees, according to genetic evidence. Stricter controls are needed to protect bees from other emerging diseases. The virus together with the Varroa mite can kill-off whole hives, putting bee populations at risk.

Vanishing of the Bees
Little Bee. Big Mystery.

Sioux Falls Zoologists endorse Vanishing of the Bees for
showing how the extinction of Honeybees poses a
serious threat to one-third of our food supply.